Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2015/303

The Design Space of Lightweight Cryptography

Nicky Mouha

Abstract: For constrained devices, standard cryptographic algorithms can be too big, too slow or too energy-consuming. The area of lightweight cryptography studies new algorithms to overcome these problems. In this paper, we will focus on symmetric-key encryption, authentication and hashing. Instead of providing a full overview of this area of research, we will highlight three interesting topics. Firstly, we will explore the generic security of lightweight constructions. In particular, we will discuss considerations for key, block and tag sizes, and explore the topic of instantiating a pseudorandom permutation (PRP) with a non-ideal block cipher construction. This is inspired by the increasing prevalence of lightweight designs that are not secure against related-key attacks, such as PRINCE, PRIDE or Chaskey. Secondly, we explore the efficiency of cryptographic primitives. In particular, we investigate the impact on efficiency when the input size of a primitive doubles. Lastly, we provide some considerations for cryptographic design. We observe that applications do not always use cryptographic algorithms as they were intended, which negatively impacts the security and/or efficiency of the resulting implementations.

Category / Keywords: secret-key cryptography / symmetric-key, encryption, authentication, hash function, lightweight, constrained devices, scaling law

Date: received 1 Apr 2015, last revised 30 Jun 2015

Contact author: Nicky Mouha at esat kuleuven be

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Version: 20150630:152917 (All versions of this report)

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